Guest Author - Lorraine E. Chavis
Weeks after Super Bowl 50, the Broncos versus the Panthers, no one’s talking about the game everyone’s talking about Beyoncé’s performance. She shared the stage with two well know artists: Bruno Mars and Coldplay, but it’s safe to say she stole the show with her “Formation” performance.
She had women dressed in all black dancing in a regimented style, very reminiscent of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Some people associated the performance with the militant group, and took it very negatively that the artist would even reach into her arsenal for such imagery. Others just saw it as a performance.
Over the years Beyoncé has received much scrutiny over not saying anything about police brutality, the injustice that happened in New Orleans, the kind of social organizations she may or may not be connected to and even criticism about her child’s hair, the lowest. People have called her out in so many ways and to a large extent she liked it mainly because she is a celebrity, and in the music industry dramatic effect definitely sells.
However, this was a chance for the mega star to take the reins and to speak on a more visceral level to the “haters” in her life. She wasn’t lashing out as much as she was addressing comments. As a general rule, stars don’t speak on the heavy issues like Civil Rights, especially popular crossover stars like Beyoncé. Speaking out against racial injustice like this can alienate a fan based.
There’s a Saturday Night Live skit that depicts Beyoncé’s white fans discovering Beyoncé is black. The skit goes on to show how this discovery caused havoc in her white fans lives. Ray Charles, very popular and well-loved, spoke out against racial injustice and he was banned from Georgia.
Beyoncé is a black American, but she is also a Popstar and Super Bowl 50, Beyoncé used her full arsenal of creativity to come against haters. She used civil rights imagery and went head-to-head with her haters and with racial injustice in her halftime performance.
I don’t think Beyoncé could have predicted police departments would boycott her concerts. I don’t think she could have predicted the backlash so many weeks later. Some people in the black community criticized her for not being tough enough. But the song, “Formation” is bringing the civil rights conversation to the forefront.
“Formation” is a very powerful song that caused quite a stir. Beyoncé of course wanted to be remembered and she will be.